Monday, September 29, 2008

Village Corner

The Location: 601 S. Forest (corner of S. Forest and South U.)

The Facts: 
Started in 1970, Village Corner has one of the largest wine selections in Michigan, with over 5000 wines. It is also a general store, also dabbling in tobacco products with over 350 cigar varieties. Village Corner was built after a fire destroyed a once historic residence of many Ann Arborites, including Bob Dylan (Rob Zimmerman at the time). It remains one of the few places close to campus that acts as a true grocery store with (semi)fresh fruit and veggies, packaged meat, etc.

My VC visits up until this school year had been limited to the rare mid-night-on-the-town stops for 40s and the like in between parties. It wasn't until this year, when I moved across the street from it did I realize just how cool it was. The first time I went to buy a bottle of wine (a necessary aid when studying French, in my opinion), I spent 40 minutes perusing before coming to my final selection. I had been in VC before, but I didn't realize just how big it was until I took the time to wander through the selection. You can find just about anything you're looking for there, and if you can't, the expert wine staff can help you. They're there from 9am-6pm everyday but Sunday (noon-6pm). The beer selection is large, but not staggering, while the cigar selection is probably the 3rd or 4th largest in Ann Arbor. Good, not great.

While VC doesn't have a Meijer-sized selection of food, you can pick out most of what you need, from frozen foods, to canned goods, to meat and greens. The quality of the veggies is a big hit or miss, and the prices are a big higher, so it's best to do your shopping in bulk elsewhere, if you're on a tight budget, but for those who live nearby it's a convenient place to grab a few groceries.

VC's ability to sell liquor at current is in question due to unknown circumstances. I overheard this being murmered between employees, but when asked, they responded they just had a shipping snafu. I plan on updating info on this later. When it's there, the liquor is fairly standard in selection and price for a near-campus business, with perhaps a slightly larger selection than average. Being far from well versed on wine and the particulars of it's pricing, I'm unaware how VC stacks up to other places but it didn't seem too different, from my limited knowledge. Also, when buying wine, you can get a 5% discount on any purchase of 6 or more bottles, which seems like a pretty decent deal.

Village Corner's building is a little sketchy, with a fairly dirty appearance, both inside and out. The employees, especially the late night employees tend to be a bit crabby, and contribute to a less than stellar atmosphere. I give it three stars. It's an astoundingly good wine cellar with a convenent grocery store attached and I like the fact that I don't need to drive to Meijer to get my shopping done. It's off the mark on it's cleanliness and employees. I'd love to give it four stars but until the fresh food quality improves I don't see myself giving it a four star rating.

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